Residents in Northern Virginia may soon have new neighbors. Detailed dossiers on 241 Guantanamo detainees have recently been completed by federal authorities, opening the question as to where their next move may be as the military prison base shuts down. According to Justice officials, some detainees could be moved to prisons in and around Alexandria, Va., and New York City.
The possibility of characters such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, member of the al-Qaeda organization and mastermind of the September 11 attacks, moving to local prisons is disquieting to politicians and residents alike. Although prisons in Northern Virginia have been rumored to be possible destinations for detainees, Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine (D) told The Washington Post that he has not been approached with the issue of Guantanamo Bay detainees and that Republican politicians in Virginia were “jumping the gun” by vehemently opposing a federal decision that still has not been made. In addition, a Justice Department spokesman told The Washington Post:
At this time it’s far too early to speculate on which districts might involve such prosecutions, given that review is pending.
It’s also possible the Obama administration may create a new system of detention to deal with detainees deemed too dangerous to release, but against whom not enough admissiable evidence exits to prosecute them successfully in the courts.
For now, teams of eight to ten officials from the departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Justice, as well as agencies such as the CIA and FBI will review the electronic files before making team recommendations on a case-by-case basis. These recommendations will then go to review at a board of senior officials from various departments.
Matthew G. Olsen is heading the Guantanamo Bay review task force at the Department of Justice.